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15 Super Expensive Secondary Schools

We decided to put a price on education with the following look at of some of the most expensive secondary schools in the county. All tuition data are from the 2008-09 school year and only schools that welcome day students are included.

1. Lawrenceville School "“ Lawrenceville, NJ

Day School Tuition: $34,680

History: Lawrenceville was founded in 1810 as the Maidenhead Academy and "refounded," according to the school's Web site, as the Lawrenceville School in 1883. It was at that time that the school's famous House system, whereby students are assigned to live in one of 20 residential houses with a resident housemaster and unique identities, was implemented. Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect who is most famous for designing Central Park, was responsible for the Lawrenceville campus' circle. The school was all-male until 1987.

Notable: Chicago Bulls forward Joakim Noah honed his skills for the Big Red in Lawrenceville's basketball gym. The school's other impressive athletic facilities include an indoor ice hockey rink, a nine-hole golf course, 10 squash courts, 12 tennis courts, and a world-class ropes course. The ropes course, designed by an expert in outdoor experiential education, enables students to build trust in one another and confidence in their own abilities.

Course Catalog:

At Lawrenceville, students can learn more about Canada than they ever did from South Park with a history course titled, "Through the Looking Glass: Canada, a Different North America." Many classes at Lawrenceville are taught using the Harkness method, which involves professors sitting around oval tables with their students to facilitate class discussion.

Famous Alumni: Disney mogul Michael Eisner and singer Huey Lewis graduated from Lawrenceville before attending Denison and Cornell, respectively.

2. Concord Academy "“ Concord, MA

Day School Tuition: $34,700

concord.jpgHistory: Concord Academy, or CA as it's commonly known, was established in 1922 as an all-girls school for grades 1 through 12. Enrollment during CA's early years was small "“ only 20 students graduated in the class of 1948 "“ but grew as the institution transitioned into an independent high school. CA became coed in 1971 and today boasts an enrollment of 367 students, less than half of whom live on campus.

Notable: The chameleon, CA's symbol of adaptability, has been associated with the school for more than 80 years. It has been adopted as the mascot for CA's 23 athletic teams and is engraved on the class ring. It is also the namesake for CA's literary magazine.

Course Catalog: In the spring of 2010, CA will offer a new course titled, "Latin American Literature: Magical Realities." The course will examine the works of the likes of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jorge Luis Borges. The course fills the void left by another English course, "Gay Literature: In and Out and In-Between," which was originally scheduled to be offered but is crossed out in the current version of the online course catalog. The first Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) was formed at Concord Academy in 1988 by teacher Kevin Jennings.

Famous Alumni: In addition to author Julia Glass and Caroline Kennedy, CA's list of graduates includes a queen and a "Juice Guy." Queen Noor of Jordan and Tom First, one of the founders of Nantucket Nectars, both attended Concord.

3. Middlesex School "“ Concord, MA

Day School Tuition: $34,250

middlesex.jpgHistory: Middlesex was opened as an all-boys school in 1901 by Frederick Winsor, who hoped to "find the promise that lies hidden" in every student. Winsor helped establish the National Scholarship Program, which the school claims was the first of its kind for a secondary school. While Middlesex, which became coed in 1974, used to be closely affiliated with Harvard, its graduates now attend a variety of colleges and universities. The school's campus was designed by the sons of Frederick Law Olmsted.

Notable: The 1992 movie School Ties, the story of a Jewish boy at an elite prep school during the 1950s, was filmed at Middlesex. The movie stars Brendan Fraser, Chris O'Donnell, and Matt Damon. Of the three, Damon is the only one who attended a public high school.

Course Catalog: In addition to interest-piquing courses such as "Mystery in Literature" and "Biomedical Ethics," students may enroll in "CSI: Middlesex, Introduction to Forensics." Lab activities will accompany each topic, which may include fingerprinting, DNA analysis, toxicology, and blood splatter analysis.

Famous Alumni: Bill Richardson, William Hurt, and Steve Carell all attended Middlesex. Before The Office became one of the most popular shows on television, Carell said that his backup plan was to teach high school history and coach a few sports at a New England prep school. Having Michael Scott as your history teacher might be worth the price of admission.

4. Milton Academy "“ Milton, MA

Day School Tuition: $33,150

milton-academy.jpgHistory: Milton Academy was founded in 1798 with the goal to "open the way for all the people to a higher order of education than the common schools can supply." After celebrating its centennial, Milton Academy divided into separate boys and girls schools. The school eventually returned to its coed roots and today boasts an equal number of boys and girls among its 680 students.

Notable: Every other year since 1977, Milton Academy has hosted a Seminar Day, when it invites local and international experts in a variety of fields to come to campus and speak to students. Recent guests have included lawyer Alan Dershowitz and editorial cartoonist Dan Wasserman.

Course Catalog: Sometimes learning how not to do something is just as effective as learning the correct way. That seems to be the logic behind the course, "Engineering for Failure: Structures and Their Demise." As part of the course, students will build various structures and test them to the point of failure.

Famous Alumni: T.S. Eliot graduated from Milton Academy in 1906, while Robert F. Kennedy attended the school for one year.

5. Lawrence Academy "“ Groton, MA

Day School Tuition: $33,900

lawrence-acad.jpgHistory: Lawrence Academy was chartered by Gov. John Hancock and founded in 1793. The school's main building burned down on July 4, 1868, as the result of a fire started by boys who were playing with firecrackers, and the school suffered extensive damage in a second fire that erupted during baccalaureate services in 1956. Lawrence Academy was coed from the time of its founding until 1898, when it transitioned to an all-boys school. The school, which became coed again in 1971, has an enrollment of roughly 400 students.

Notable: During the fall, students wear costumes and compete for bragging rights in the 2-on-2 Bos'n Ball soccer tournament, which was created by the boys' varsity soccer team to honor Bos'n, a faculty member's dog, who was struck and killed by a car.

Course Catalog: Insect lovers will jump at the chance to sign up for Lawrence Academy's entomology course, which explores insects' various effects "“ both good and bad "“ on the world. Through laboratory investigations, field experiences, and class discussions, students will learn how to collect and identify the major groups of insects.

Famous Alumni: Lawyer Jim Sokolove, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, and Phish keyboardist Page McConnell all attended Lawrence Academy.

6. Groton School "“ Groton, MA

Day School Tuition: $33,260

groton.jpgHistory: Groton, a coed school of nearly 400 students, was founded in 1884 by Rev. Endicott Peabody, who attended Cheltenham College in England. In 2007, the school's Trustees voted to offer admission free to students whose family income is less than $75,000.

Notable: A good first impression can be made with a firm handshake, and at Groton, students receive plenty of practice. Each student shakes the hand of his or her dorm head every day, a tradition that dates back to the school's founding.

Course Catalog: One of the more unique courses offered at the Groton School is an ethics course titled, "C.S. Lewis and the Problem of Evil." Through readings of such works as The Chronicles of Narnia, the class will attempt to define evil and explain how it exists and operates.

Famous Alumni: Former U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson, FDR, and Curtis Sittenfeld, the author of Prep, attended Groton.

7. Hotchkiss School "“ Lakeville, CT

Day School Tuition: $34,250

hotchkiss.jpgHistory: Maria Harrison Bissell Hotchkiss founded The Hotchkiss School in 1891 as an all-boys preparatory school for Yale. The school became coed in 1971 and the number of males and females attending Hotchkiss today is roughly equal.

Notable: The school places great emphasis on connecting its students to the world abroad. Hotchkiss began recruiting students from China in 1912, while Forrest Mars, a Hotchkiss graduate and the grandson of the Mars candy bar creator, has sponsored two student trips to Antarctica.

Course Catalog: "Gender and International Development," an economics course, seeks to answer the question of whether equality between the sexes is linked to economic growth. Physics students compete in the annual Cardboard Boat Regatta, in which participants build two-person boats out of five sheets of corrugated cardboard and two rolls of masking tape.

Famous Alumni: Henry Luce and Briton Hadden, the eventual founders of Time magazine, met while working on the school newspaper at Hotchkiss.

8. Phillips Andover Academy "“ Andover, MA

Day School Tuition: $30,500

school-8.jpgHistory: Phillips Academy was established in 1778 as an all-boys school and is the country's oldest incorporated boarding school. The motto non sibi, meaning "not for self," was forged into Phillips Andover Academy's seal in 1782 by Paul Revere. Today, the school has more than 1,000 students with a student-teacher ratio of 5 to 1.

Notable: Most high school students take field trips to art galleries. At Andover, two large collections are mere footsteps away. The Addison Gallery of American Art features an extensive collection by such artists as Winslow Homer and Georgia O'Keefe. The neighboring Peabody Museum of Archaeology houses a collection of more than 500,000 artifacts related to Native American cultures. The museum staff leads students on excavation projects at dig sites throughout North America several times a year.

Course: Among the 300 different courses and 150 electives that students may take at Andover is the psychology course, "The Brain and You: A Users Guide."

Famous Alumni: Perhaps the notorious cut-off sweatshirt that New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick wears on the sidelines is his way of rebelling against the more formal attire he was required to wear as a student at Andover. Other famous graduates include George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, actress Dana Delany, JFK Jr., Peter Sellers, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder.

9. Phillips Exeter Academy "“ Exeter, NH

Day School Tuition: $29,330

exeter.jpgHistory: Phillips Exeter Academy was founded in 1781 by Harvard graduate John Phillips, the uncle of Andover Academy founder Samuel Phillips. The school became coed in 1970. Exeter's huge endowment reached $1 billion in 2007, but has since dipped to around $700 million.

Notable: Exeter devotes about $60,000 a year to each of its students, which includes maintaining the Class of 1945 Library, the largest secondary school library in the world with more than 150,000 volumes.

Course Catalog: Through case studies of countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, students tackle an important question in the course, "Why Are Poor Nations Poor?"

Famous Alumni: Daniel Webster, Franklin Pierce, Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and CNBC anchor Trish Regan are but a few of Exeter's famous graduates.

10. Kent School "“ Kent, CT

Day School Tuition: $34,500

kent.jpgHistory: The Kent School was founded as an all-boys school in 1906 by Rev. Frederick Herbert Sill, an Episcopal monk and Columbia graduate who believed there was a connection between intellectual effort and spiritual reward. Kent, which was the first secondary school in the country to charge tuition on a sliding scale, became coed in 1960.

Notable: While its values and mission have remained constant, the Kent School prides itself on innovation. The school began providing tablet PCs to every student and teacher in 1995 as one of the 29 pioneering schools of the Anytime, Anywhere Learning Program.

Course Catalog: Kent offers a number of interesting English courses, including "The Ghost Story" and "Micro Fiction," in which students read and write stories that are no longer than 55 words.

Famous Alumni: KT Tunstall formed her first band, "The Happy Campers," while attending Kent School on a scholarship. Actor Ted Danson and director Peter Farrelly are among the other famous graduates of the school.

11. Cambridge School of Weston "“ Weston, MA

Day School Tuition: $32,500

weston.jpgHistory: While its roots date back to the founding of the Cambridge School for Girls in 1886, the school moved to Weston and reopened under its current name with a class of 106 students in 1931.

Notable: The Lab System was instituted during the school's first year in Weston. Under the system, students chose an academic area to study for 2 hours at the beginning of each day as teachers provide guidance. That same year, students constructed the Hobby House, a space for the school's woodworking classes. Today, the Hobby House is used as the Admissions and Development Building.

Course Catalog: Among the new additions to CSW's curriculum of more than 300 courses for 2009-10 is "Art of Prediction," a history course that explores the establishment of a new world-view from the time of the Scientific Revolution through the development of an atomic bomb.

Famous Alumni: Helen Keller studied for one year at the school in 1896, while Paul Glaser, who played detective David Starsky in the '70 television show Starsky and Hutch, attended CSW before pursuing his undergraduate degree at Tulane.

12. Miss Porter's School "“ Farmington, CT

Day School Tuition: $31,850

miss-porter.jpgHistory: Sarah Porter, the scholarly daughter of a Farmington minister, was tutored by Yale professors as a young woman and founded Miss Porter's School in 1843. In addition to a rigorous curriculum, Porter demanded that her students remain physically active; to that end, the school formed a baseball team in 1867. Following Porter's death in 1900, her nephew and his wife took control of the school, which was incorporated as a non-profit institution in 1943. Today, the school boasts more than 300 students.

Notable: In keeping with the school's dedication to service, all students who enter the school as freshmen and sophomores must complete 20 hours of community service before they graduate. Students who enter as juniors and seniors must complete at least 10 hours. All-Star awards are given to seniors who complete over 100 hours of community service.

Course Catalog: Miss Porter's School has long placed great emphasis on the arts, and it shows in the school's course offerings. While newspapers as we know them may be dying, students enrolled in "The Living Newspaper" research, write, and perform original plays based on current events.

Famous Alumni: Ruth Hanna McCormick, the first woman elected to Congress from Illinois, graduated from Miss Porter's School in 1897. Fifty years later, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis earned her degree. More recently, Heather Lynch, the director of public relations for J. Crew, took part in the traditional hanging of the daisy wreath at commencement.

13. Governor's Academy "“ Byfield, MA

Day School Tuition: $32,600

school-10.jpgHistory: The Governor's Academy, which was established as the Dumm'r Charity School in 1763 and was later known as Governor Dummer Academy, is the country's oldest continuously operating boarding school. Originally named after Massachusetts Governor William Dummer, the school's name was changed to The Governor's Academy in 2005. The campus includes an archives room, which houses the Document of Incorporation of Dummer Academy, which was signed by John Hancock and Samuel Adams in 1782. Today, the school is coed and has an enrollment of nearly 400 students.

Notable: The school's 500-acre campus outside of Boston hosts the Massachusetts Special Olympics Fall Soccer Tournament every year. Governor's Academy students help run the event by arranging the opening ceremonies, organizing public relations activities, registering the more than 800 athletes, and overseeing games during the round-robin tournament.

Course Catalog: In "Children's Literature," students will take an academic view of classics such as Charlotte's Web and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. For their final project, students will be required to produce an original piece of children's literature that will be shared with the faculty's young children. Perhaps those children should determine each student's grade, too.

Famous Alumni: Booker T. Washington, Jr., played on the football team, while Theophilus Parsons, a Chief Justice of Massachusetts and author of the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, also attended the school.

14. Hill School "“ Pottstown, PA

Day School Tuition: $29,000

potts.jpgHistory: The Hill School was founded in 1851 by Rev. Matthew Meigs as the "Family Boarding School for Boys and Young Men" and remained an all-boys school until 1998. Student enrollment has traditionally been around 500 students; the school's official song is called "A Thousand Hands."

Notable: One of the many traditions at Hill School is the J-Ball tournament held each spring. J-Ball is short for Javelin Ball, a game created by Hill School students that combines tennis with baseball. The game is played on a baseball field, but players use tennis racquets instead of bats and tennis balls instead of baseballs. Only one player on each team is allowed to use a glove.

Course Catalog: Students enrolled in the school's "Fine Woodworking" class in the fall will design and build a custom skateboard deck with paint and graphics for their class project. Students who take the course in the winter and spring will build a fully functional glass-bottomed canoe.

Famous Alumni: Legendary Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, who coined the term "Super Bowl," Oliver Stone, and Donald Trump, Jr. attended Hill School.

15. Dana Hall "“ Wellesley, MA

Day School Tuition: $33,981

dana-hall.jpgHistory: Dana Hall opened in 1881 as an all-girls preparatory school for Wellesley College. The first class of 18 students paid $325 for board and tuition.

Notable: Dana Hall has an equestrian team and students are welcome to board their own horses in the school's 45-stall Riding Center. The school provides veterinarian and blacksmith care for the horses, as well as private, semi-private, and group riding lessons for students.

Course Catalog: Through English readings of classical texts, students enrolled in "Women in the Classical World" take a closer look at how Greek and Roman attitudes toward women helped shape Americans' view of women today. The third trimester of the class is devoted to independent research projects related to material presented in the course.

Famous Alumni: Cynthia Voigt, an author of numerous young adult books, and Nina Garcia, former editor of Elle magazine and a judge on Project Runway, both attended Dana Hall.

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10 Memorable Neil deGrasse Tyson Quotes
Michael Campanella/Getty Images
Michael Campanella/Getty Images

Neil deGrasse Tyson is America's preeminent badass astrophysicist. He's a passionate advocate for science, NASA, and education. He's also well-known for a little incident involving Pluto. And the man holds nearly 20 honorary doctorates (in addition to his real one). In honor of his 59th birthday, here are 10 of our favorite Neil deGrasse Tyson quotes.

1. ON SCIENCE

"The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it."
—From Real Time with Bill Maher.

2. ON NASA FUNDING

"As a fraction of your tax dollar today, what is the total cost of all spaceborne telescopes, planetary probes, the rovers on Mars, the International Space Station, the space shuttle, telescopes yet to orbit, and missions yet to fly?' Answer: one-half of one percent of each tax dollar. Half a penny. I’d prefer it were more: perhaps two cents on the dollar. Even during the storied Apollo era, peak NASA spending amounted to little more than four cents on the tax dollar." 
—From Space Chronicles

3. ON GOD AND HURRICANES

"Once upon a time, people identified the god Neptune as the source of storms at sea. Today we call these storms hurricanes ... The only people who still call hurricanes acts of God are the people who write insurance forms."
—From Death by Black Hole

4. ON THE BENEFITS OF TECHNOLOGY INVENTED FOR USE IN SPACE

"Countless women are alive today because of ideas stimulated by a design flaw in the Hubble Space Telescope." (Editor's note: technology used to repair the Hubble Space Telescope's optical problems led to improved technology for breast cancer detection.)
—From Space Chronicles

5. ON THE DEMOTION OF PLUTO FROM PLANET STATUS 


PBS

"I knew Pluto was popular among elementary schoolkids, but I had no idea they would mobilize into a 'Save Pluto' campaign. I now have a drawer full of hate letters from hundreds of elementary schoolchildren (with supportive cover letters from their science teachers) pleading with me to reverse my stance on Pluto. The file includes a photograph of the entire third grade of a school posing on their front steps and holding up a banner proclaiming, 'Dr. Tyson—Pluto is a Planet!'"
—From The Sky Is Not the Limit

6. ON JAMES CAMERON'S TITANIC

"In [Titanic], the stars above the ship bear no correspondence to any constellations in a real sky. Worse yet, while the heroine bobs ... we are treated to her view of this Hollywood sky—one where the stars on the right half of the scene trace the mirror image of the stars in the left half. How lazy can you get?"
—From Death by Black Hole

7. ON DEATH BY ASTEROID

"On Friday the 13th, April 2029, an asteroid large enough to fill the Rose Bowl as though it were an egg cup will fly so close to Earth that it will dip below the altitude of our communication satellites. We did not name this asteroid Bambi. Instead, we named it Apophis, after the Egyptian god of darkness and death."
—From Space Chronicles

8. ON THE MOTIVATIONS BEHIND AMERICA'S MOONSHOT

"[L]et us not fool ourselves into thinking we went to the Moon because we are pioneers, or discoverers, or adventurers. We went to the Moon because it was the militaristically expedient thing to do."
—From The Sky Is Not the Limit

9. ON INTELLIGENT LIFE (OR THE LACK THEREOF)

Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/n/neildegras615117.html
Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/n/neildegras615117.html

"Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life."

10. PRACTICAL ADVICE IN THE EVENT OF ALIEN CONTACT 

A still from Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Universal Studios

"[I]f an alien lands on your front lawn and extends an appendage as a gesture of greeting, before you get friendly, toss it an eightball. If the appendage explodes, then the alien was probably made of antimatter. If not, then you can proceed to take it to your leader."
—From Death by Black Hole

How Apple's '1984' Super Bowl Ad Was Almost Canceled

More than 30 years ago, Apple defined the Super Bowl commercial as a cultural phenomenon. Prior to Super Bowl XVIII, nobody watched the game "just for the commercials"—but one epic TV spot, directed by sci-fi legend Ridley Scott, changed all that. Read on for the inside story of the commercial that rocked the world of advertising, even though Apple's Board of Directors didn't want to run it at all.

THE AD

If you haven't seen it, here's a fuzzy YouTube version:

"WHY 1984 WON'T BE LIKE 1984"

The tagline "Why 1984 Won't Be Like '1984'" references George Orwell's 1949 novel 1984, which envisioned a dystopian future, controlled by a televised "Big Brother." The tagline was written by Brent Thomas and Steve Hayden of the ad firm Chiat\Day in 1982, and the pair tried to sell it to various companies (including Apple, for the Apple II computer) but were turned down repeatedly. When Steve Jobs heard the pitch in 1983, he was sold—he saw the Macintosh as a "revolutionary" product, and wanted advertising to match. Jobs saw IBM as Big Brother, and wanted to position Apple as the world's last chance to escape IBM's domination of the personal computer industry. The Mac was scheduled to launch in late January of 1984, a week after the Super Bowl. IBM already held the nickname "Big Blue," so the parallels, at least to Jobs, were too delicious to miss.

Thomas and Hayden wrote up the story of the ad: we see a world of mind-controlled, shuffling men all in gray, staring at a video screen showing the face of Big Brother droning on about "information purification directives." A lone woman clad in vibrant red shorts and a white tank-top (bearing a Mac logo) runs from riot police, dashing up an aisle towards Big Brother. Just before being snatched by the police, she flings a sledgehammer at Big Brother's screen, smashing him just after he intones "We shall prevail!" Big Brother's destruction frees the minds of the throng, who quite literally see the light, flooding their faces now that the screen is gone. A mere eight seconds before the one-minute ad concludes, a narrator briefly mentions the word "Macintosh," in a restatement of that original tagline: "On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you'll see why 1984 won't be like '1984.'" An Apple logo is shown, and then we're out—back to the game.

In 1983, in a presentation about the Mac, Jobs introduced the ad to a cheering audience of Apple employees:

"... It is now 1984. It appears IBM wants it all. Apple is perceived to be the only hope to offer IBM a run for its money. Dealers, initially welcoming IBM with open arms, now fear an IBM-dominated and -controlled future. They are increasingly turning back to Apple as the only force that can ensure their future freedom. IBM wants it all and is aiming its guns on its last obstacle to industry control: Apple. Will Big Blue dominate the entire computer industry? The entire information age? Was George Orwell right about 1984?"

After seeing the ad for the first time, the Apple audience totally freaked out (jump to about the 5-minute mark to witness the riotous cheering).

SKINHEADS, A DISCUS THROWER, AND A SCI-FI DIRECTOR

Chiat\Day hired Ridley Scott, whose 1982 sci-fi film Blade Runner had the dystopian tone they were looking for (and Alien wasn't so bad either). Scott filmed the ad in London, using actual skinheads playing the mute bald men—they were paid $125 a day to sit and stare at Big Brother; those who still had hair were paid to shave their heads for the shoot. Anya Major, a discus thrower and actress, was cast as the woman with the sledgehammer largely because she was actually capable of wielding the thing.

Mac programmer Andy Hertzfeld wrote an Apple II program "to flash impressive looking numbers and graphs on [Big Brother's] screen," but it's unclear whether his program was used for the final film. The ad cost a shocking $900,000 to film, plus Apple booked two premium slots during the Super Bowl to air it—carrying an airtime cost of more than $1 million.

WHAT EXECUTIVES AT APPLE THOUGHT

Although Jobs and his marketing team (plus the assembled throng at his 1983 internal presentation) loved the ad, Apple's Board of Directors hated it. After seeing the ad for the first time, board member Mike Markkula suggested that Chiat\Day be fired, and the remainder of the board were similarly unimpressed. Then-CEO John Sculley recalled the reaction after the ad was screened for the group: "The others just looked at each other, dazed expressions on their faces ... Most of them felt it was the worst commercial they had ever seen. Not a single outside board member liked it." Sculley instructed Chiat\Day to sell off the Super Bowl airtime they had purchased, but Chiat\Day principal Jay Chiat quietly resisted. Chiat had purchased two slots—a 60-second slot in the third quarter to show the full ad, plus a 30-second slot later on to repeat an edited-down version. Chiat sold only the 30-second slot and claimed it was too late to sell the longer one. By disobeying his client's instructions, Chiat cemented Apple's place in advertising history.

When Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak heard that the ad was in trouble, he offered to pony up half the airtime costs himself, saying, "I asked how much it was going to cost, and [Steve Jobs] told me $800,000. I said, 'Well, I'll pay half of it if you will.' I figured it was a problem with the company justifying the expenditure. I thought an ad that was so great a piece of science fiction should have its chance to be seen."

But Woz didn't have to shell out the money; the executive team finally decided to run a 100-day advertising extravaganza for the Mac's launch, starting with the Super Bowl ad—after all, they had already paid to shoot it and were stuck with the airtime.

1984 - Big Brother

WHAT EVERYBODY ELSE THOUGHT

When the ad aired, controversy erupted—viewers either loved or hated the ad, and it spurred a wave of media coverage that involved news shows replaying the ad as part of covering it, leading to estimates of an additional $5 million in "free" airtime for the ad. All three national networks, plus countless local markets, ran news stories about the ad. "1984" become a cultural event, and served as a blueprint for future Apple product launches. The marketing logic was brilliantly simple: create an ad campaign that sparked controversy (for example, by insinuating that IBM was like Big Brother), and the media will cover your launch for free, amplifying the message.

The full ad famously ran once during the Super Bowl XVIII (on January 22, 1984), but it also ran the month prior—on December 31, 1983, TV station operator Tom Frank ran the ad on KMVT at the last possible time slot before midnight, in order to qualify for 1983's advertising awards.* (Any awards the ad won would mean more media coverage.) Apple paid to screen the ad in movie theaters before movie trailers, further heightening anticipation for the Mac launch. In addition to all that, the 30-second version was aired across the country after its debut on the Super Bowl.

Chiat\Day adman Steve Hayden recalled: "We ran a 30- second version of '1984' in the top 10 U.S. markets, plus, in an admittedly childish move, in an 11th market—Boca Raton, Florida, headquarters for IBM's PC division." Mac team member Andy Hertzfeld ended his remembrance of the ad by saying:

"A week after the Macintosh launch, Apple held its January board meeting. The Macintosh executive staff was invited to attend, not knowing what to expect. When the Mac people entered the room, everyone on the board rose and gave them a standing ovation, acknowledging that they were wrong about the commercial and congratulating the team for pulling off a fantastic launch.

Chiat\Day wanted the commercial to qualify for upcoming advertising awards, so they ran it once at 1 AM at a small television station in Twin Falls, Idaho, KMVT, on December 15, 1983 [incorrect; see below for an update on this -ed]. And sure enough it won just about every possible award, including best commercial of the decade. Twenty years later it's considered one of the most memorable television commercials ever made."

THE AWFUL 1985 FOLLOW-UP

A year later, Apple again employed Chiat\Day to make a blockbuster ad for their Macintosh Office product line, which was basically a file server, networking gear, and a laser printer. Directed by Ridley Scott's brother Tony, the new ad was called "Lemmings," and featured blindfolded businesspeople whistling an out-of-tune version of Snow White's "Heigh-Ho" as they followed each other off a cliff (referencing the myth of lemming suicide).

Jobs and Sculley didn't like the ad, but Chiat\Day convinced them to run it, pointing out that the board hadn't liked the last ad either. But unlike the rousing, empowering message of the "1984" ad, "Lemmings" directly insulted business customers who had already bought IBM computers. It was also weirdly boring—when it was aired at the Super Bowl (with Jobs and Sculley in attendance), nobody really reacted. The ad was a flop, and Apple even proposed running a printed apology in The Wall Street Journal. Jay Chiat shot back, saying that if Apple apologized, Chiat would buy an ad on the next page, apologizing for the apology. It was a mess:

20-YEAR ANNIVERSARY

In 2004, the ad was updated for the launch of the iPod. The only change was that the woman with the hammer was now listening to an iPod, which remained clipped to her belt as she ran. You can watch that version too:

FURTHER READING

Chiat\Day adman Lee Clow gave an interview about the ad, covering some of this material.

Check out Mac team member Andy Hertzfeld's excellent first-person account of the ad. A similar account (but with more from Jobs's point of view) can found in the Steve Jobs biography, and an even more in-depth account is in The Mac Bathroom Reader. The Mac Bathroom Reader is out of print; you can read an excerpt online, including QuickTime movies of the two versions of the ad, plus a behind-the-scenes video. Finally, you might enjoy this 2004 USA Today article about the ad, pointing out that ads for other computers (including Atari, Radio Shack, and IBM's new PCjr) also ran during that Super Bowl.

* = A Note on the Airing in 1983

Update: Thanks to Tom Frank for writing in to correct my earlier mis-statement about the first air date of this commercial. As you can see in his comment below, Hertzfeld's comments above (and the dates cited in other accounts I've seen) are incorrect. Stay tuned for an upcoming interview with Frank, in which we discuss what it was like running both "1984" and "Lemmings" before they were on the Super Bowl!

Update 2: You can read the story behind this post in Chris's book The Blogger Abides.

This post originally appeared in 2012.

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